Lhasa Terrier : Scientific Standard,
as established by World Cynology Congress of Monaco 1934 *

Tibetan “Lion dog”

General characters of the breed:
In the scientific classification of professor DECHAMBRE, the Lhasa terrier should be considered as an ellipometric "sub-concave", "sub-breviligne”, ellipometric.
We have, here, respected as much as possible the standard of the Lhasa-Apso as established by the English breeders. However, we have added some modifications which looked to us indispensable.
The general look of the Lhasa terrier is similar to the one of a little size dog, his length is definitely bigger than his height, his originality is in his long and dense haired fur, not curled, nor frizzy. The tail is carried well over the back in an arc de cercle. The hair of the bodyseparated by a line going from the stop up to the base of the tail falls down on both sides without touching the ground.
The head is furnished with a rich bunch of long hair, in chrysanthemum shape failing over the eyes and face.
The body is elongated, the limbs rather short; the forequarter is slightly shorter than the hindquarter
The male measures between 0m22 and 0m28 at withers, the female between 0m22 and 0m25.
— Weight varies from 4 to 7 kgs.
— Colour : gold, sand, dark grey, slate, black.
The plane colour is priced in France. English breeders admit spotted coats, white with brown or black spots..
— Gay and active temperament, it is a very nice pet dog.

Detailed descriptive characters:

To determine these characters we have examined the ten subjects having obtained high prices In the French exhibitions, the dogs from the Annapuna breeding.

A – General Look
The head’s volume is medium compared to the body. The length from the external occipital crest to the anterior extreme of the nose, is 10,5 cm average, for a total body length of 31 cm measured from the point of the withers to the point of the buttock.
good equilibrium between the muscles structure and the bones frame gives the dog distinguished look.
The head width at zygomatic brows level is about 7 cm, whereas the total length from the cranio-frontal region, measured on same subjects, from the occipital crest to the line linking the internal angles of the eye-lids, gives an average figure of 6,5 cm. This slight predominance, of the first dimension, according to veterinary doctor HEROUT, allows to classify the Lhasa terrier, from the craniometric point of view, as a brachycephalic,but a limit brachycephalic, getting close to the average mesaticephalic.
The skull longitudinal axis which respective directions are determined by two lines, one given by the upper profile of the muzzle, the other starting at the arch of the eye-brows and ending at occipital crest, are slightly converging, thus giving the Lhasa Terrier a profile of a “sub-concaviligne” in Professor DECHAMBRE’s classification.

B- Detailed study of the head.

a) Superior face: Cranio-frontal region :
The skull is larger than long, its superior profile is slightly convex.
The cranio-frontal is the longest region of the upper part of the head. For a total head length of 10,5 cm, the cranial region measures 6,5 cm and the facial region 4 cm. According to Veterinary Doctor HERAUT, this clear predominance of the skull portion over the facial portion, in the longitudinal axis, according to a proportion of about 3 to 2, and skull indice slightly inferior to 1, allows, by the only study of the skull, to classify morphologically the Lhasa terrier in the sub-brevilignes. The body proportions will also confirm this classification..
— The frontal furrow slightly marked..
— The stop or frontal septum slightly pronounced.
The angle formed by the cranio-frontal region and the muzzle is of 130°average. The angle of the stop in the “mediolignes” trends towards 145°,on the opposite, in the “ultra-brevilignes” the angle is about 90°; the Lhasa angle front/muzzle (with about 130°) confirms he is indeed a sub-breviligne.
— Muzzle : the upper part of the muzzle is rectilinear, the measure from the point of the nose to the line joining the eyes internal angles is 4 cm. The muzzle has a trapezoidal form and its average length is 4 cm at its beginning and only 3 cm at its end
-- Palate is black, very strongly pigmented.

b) Inferior face: Maxillary under region.
The inferior maxillary has a trapezoidal form, the lower jaw may meet the extreme of the upper jaw in such a way that incisors join exactly, but it may happen that it can be a little bit longer and so creates a slight inferior prognathism . In the subjects observed, this undershot has always been lower than 1/2 cm..

c) Lateral faces: The parotide region is entirely covered by the ears.

The ears, of big dimension, are covered with long and dense hair, they fall along the parotide region, their fore edge must be oblique backwards.
Their low attachment, follows a downwards and backwards oblique line. The ears fore attachment point is placed 1,3 cm above a tangentia line to the upper face of the nose and passing by the extreme angle of the eye; the low back attachment point is situated at 2 cm below this same line.
The fore edge traces a straight oblique line backwards and downwards, the back edge is strongly convex backwards. The extreme is slightly point shaped.
The point of the ear of the Lhasa Terrier is 3 to 4 cm longer than the inferior limit of the throat.

The arch of the eye-brows are slightly pronounced.
The eyes are very expressive, black or at least of the darkest possible colour and of normal shape and size (neither too large and prominent nor too small and sunk ).

Palpebral opening, by its shape and its direction, correspond to a “sub-concave” .
The diameter linking the nasal angle and the temporal eye-lids angle measures about 20 mm, as the vertical diameter measures 18 mm as an average.
The angle called axio-palpebral by veterinary doctor HEROUT , formed by the line uniting both angles of the palpebral opening and the head median plan passing through the middle of the nostrils, is of about 60° ( see drawing M.O.N. angle ).
Eye-lids edges are thin, deep black and furnished with very long eyelashes measuring 3 to 4 cm.

Slightly convex, they are partially covered by the ears

d) Fore head extremit

A perpendicular line to the lower limit of the upper lip, raised from the most posterior point of the lips corner, passes through the middle of the eye..
The lip edges are black, very strongly pigmented, lips are furnished with very dense moustache reaching 10 cm length.

The nose is prominent, wide if compared to the muzzle’s end, the nostrils are very open and the drain of the fore extremity of the nasal partition is well marked but must not divide the nose in two..
Of profile, the upper face of the nose appears slightly oblique upwards, thus raising the terminal portion of the upper line of the muzzle. The nose must be strongly black pigmented..

e) After extremity of the head:

Very slightly pronounced..

NAPE almost straingt.

Head study conclusion :

The morphologic appreciation of a subject should be based, for an important part, on the cephalic data and the extremities characteristics.

Before studying the more or less good body and limbs structures, one must first of all, make sure through the study of the head and tail, that the dog has the characteristics of the breed.
The cephalic measurements are paramount in establishing the proportions and the indications which enables to classify morphologically a racial type.

The result from the study of the Lhasa Terrier head, is that, in accordance with his proportions, he can be included in the “sub-breviligne”, “sub-concave” class.

He is a "sub-breviligne" for four reasons :

1°) There is a predominance of the cranio-frontal region on the facial region in the proportion of.

Skull length (6,5 cm)
Face length (4 cm)

2°) The skull width is slightly larger than its length.

Skull length (6,5 cm)
Skull width (7 cm)
< 1

3°) The stop angle is 130°, between the “mediolignes” (oscillating around 145°) and the “ultra-brevilignes” approaching 90°.

4°) The jaw has a trend to present a small undershot.

He is a "sub-concave" :

A) The longitudinal axis defined in the study of the head general look are slightly convergent..

B) The angle axio-palpebral of 60° is intermediate between acute angle of the “rectilignes” and the angle near 90° of “ultra-concaves”.

C) The relation between the two axis of the palpebral opening, trend towards the unity.

D) The axio-facio-lateral angle, established by two lines, one of them starting from the external lateral point of the most prominent point of the skull and arriving to the canine exit level, the other being the head axis, is of 40°.

These different cephalic angles have been studied on radiographies of the heads of several subjects, the important hair coat not allowing direct examination on the animal.

The neck is short and slightly arched..

The scapulo-ischiale length (from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock) is bigger than the height at the withers.

Wide and deep. The upper and lower lines are parallel in the chest region.
- Width of the chest : 9,5 cm.
- Height of the chest : 11 cm.
These measurements correspond to subjects having a height of 22 cm at the shoulder. In general, the chest height is equal to the under sternal space.
Strong loin, well developed hips, muscled thighs.

The top line is straight but slightly forewards plunging, the height at the loin being slightly bigger than the height at the shoulder.

Almost horizontal in its fore part, it becomes slightly oblique backwards and upwards in its rear portion..

The tail is long, when extended, it overtakes the hock by 2 cm .
Attached rather highly, it harmoniously continues the croup line and, about 2 cm after its attachment, it rolls down on the back, falling on either side but without really rolling up.
It is reported that In Tibet, many Lhasa terriers have, at the end of the tail, a kink probably caused by the welding of the two last coccigeal vertebrae; its absence is not a default.
The tail waved hair, forms a rich plum..

A – Forequarters

General upright standing of the forelegs must form, from their front or their side, a right angle with the ground.

The shoulder is rather short; its length from its point to the scapulum upper angle is about 9 cm. It forms with the horizontal line an angle of 65° and the opening of the scapulo-humeral angle is 115°. The shoulder is rather straight; the obliquity, very slightly accentuated, gives the Lhasa his “stepping gait” so characteristic of terrier breeds...

Slightly longer than the shoulder, it makes with the horizontal line an angle of about 50°; Its direction is parallel to the median plan of the body..

Short and straight, its length from the elbow to the knee is about 8 cm.


Round shape, lay on very black pads.
Nails must be black or dark grey.
Interdigital spaces are furnished with long hair
The length and the density of the hair covering the forelegs down to their extremity, give the dogs a heavy look.

B – Hindquarters

When viewed from behind, the hind-legs form a 90° angle with the ground, viewed from the side, they are slightly oblique backwards and downwards.

slightly convex.

The tibio-tarsal angle, rather open, is of about 150°.

The hindlegs are higher than the forelegs. In a dog measuring 24 cm at the withers, the height at the loin is 25,5 cm.

The beauty of Lhasa terrier is its opulent , very dense and long fur.

Hair texture
OVER COAT : The hair of the over coat is thin, long, generally smooth to the touch, sometimes rougher on top of the back..
This hair is slightly waved, never curled or frizzed..
The longest hair, is on the back, it can reach 25 cm. The average length is 15 cm.

UNDER COAT :The whole body is covered with a dense under coat, short and thin but woolly to the touch, with a clear felting tendency..

Natural hair spreding
A particular arrangement of the hair makes the essential originality of the Lhasa.
Long dense hair, seem to spring from the top of the head and fall both sides, following the direction of the ears, parted and tidy by a neat parting.

Moreover, an eye-brows hair fringe exceptionally long, covers the muzzle and sometimes even the nose, filtering the vivacity of the glance. These two different hair implantations in the head give to this latter, when looked at from above, a particular aspect which deserved to the first Lhasa Terriers exposed in Paris, the name of "Chrysanthemum dogs".

The muzzle is entirely covered by hair. At this level it is also separated by a parting which follows the muzzle upper part, thus reinforced by a very thick moustache and by a small beard.

The fur parting is identical over the body, with a line prolonging the head’s one until the tail, separating in this manner the opulent coat which spreads either side of the neck and the body.

The tail hair, as we have already seen it, forms a very rich plum.

The legs are covered, even the inter digital spaces, with hair forming a little bunch of fur.

Usually cream or sand with black stripes at the extremity of the ears, the beard and the tail..
The coat may also be black, with white spots or honey; dark grizzle, slate; smocke or salmon.


GAIT: The gait of the Lhasa terrier is characterized by a dominant feature : vivacity. He is far away from the slowness , supposed majestic which often is but powerlessness, particular to some breeds of “ lap dogs”, prisoners of a fur duly groomed, and whose legs, hidden by the hair coat, clog in the locks. If Lhasa owes a great part of his beauty to his opulent fur, he does not suffer because of it from any slavery. Moving constantly, at the smallest request, he hastens to come with his characteristic skipping gait, heigh head, in a proud and distinguished, even arrogant attitude, his tail a bunch of hair displayed in a gracious plume.

TEMPERAMENT: Certain physiological and psychological characteristics are symbols of one breed, same as morphology; their harmonious combinations determine the character and the temperament of the subject..
Temperament is a physiologic state, influenced by the predominance of certain elements which determine a group of special qualities and aptitudes. One has the right to ask whether the Lhasa posses this “ group of special qualities and aptitudes “ of the terrier temperament.

Though he is, in France, a pet-dog, the Apso takes pleasure to dig the ground, to chase rabbits. We then can say, that he deserves the qualification of “terrier”. It is also to be taken into consideration, that we class in the terrier group, certain dogs which do not possess sufficient temperament to justify fully their name of “ terrier” in its first value. English breeders have now a certain tendency to suppress the word “ terrier” for the Lhasa-Apso, to avoid any confusion with the “ Tibetan terrier”..

CHARACTER: The Lhasa terrier is active, alert and gay. Intelligent, he has an extraordinary memory, he recognises the places or persons he has not seen for years. He needs to live in close company with men, and particularly, he adores to play with children. He is very faithful but sad when his owners is absent, he absolutely hates to be sent into the kennel.

He is an instinctive guardian, eager to be useful; he lays without being asked to, near the object which we have put on the floor and nobody can approach, not even the cat of the house, with whom he gets along very well..

He is very sensitive and even very susceptible, according to Doctor SHAFFER, chief of a German mission in Tibet “ One must know how to handle him, he is an oriental. He is not a slave as the Occidental dogs are “.


Certain defects may be considered as redhibitory Relating to the conformation, they mainly concern the legs where one can find serious faults of upright stand.

Relative faults, are those which remove the subject from the characteristics which are considered as those being of the breed, mainly :

— Domed skull, going together with a big separation of the eyes.
— Too big stop.
— Muzzle too short, its length must not be inferior to 3,5 cm.
— Undershot if it exceeds 0,5 cm.
— Overshot (disqualifying in all cases)

Some defects are considered as less important : ears too short, hair slightly curled, colours different to those in fashion. The present colours in fashion are light. The trend to get lighter colours may lead to a depigmentation of the natural orifices with the apparition of pink measly spots on the nose and the lips.

These depigmentation troubles, are usually severely penalized.

*) To reduce to the minimum the margin of this variations in a breed, we ask that essential measurements ( from a bony point to another bony point ) of the prototype of each breed be indicated in the standard. Considering that measurements are the indispensable complement of the standard,we express the wish that all the champions be measured.

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